I’m A Bit Worried About Halo 5’s Campaign

I’m A Bit Worried About Halo 5’s Campaign

You can always rely on the Halo series to have great music, and even though it was a piecefrom the original game, hearing it kick in as Master Chief and the other three members of Blue Team hurtled through space towards a Covenant-infested ship in Halo 5 did make me go all gooey inside.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK.

Smashing through a window, the team then casually employs its booster packs to stop being sucked out of the newly created hole into space. The Covenant in the room aren’t so lucky. It’s very close to being a comedy moment in a Halo game. I am intrigued.

But half an hour later, having sat through a lot of grey and washed-out blue environments, fired off mostly human weaponry that has less of the sci-fi fun factor of the guns of Halo games past, listened to a lot of canned exposition from Chief and his team, and outsmarted some unimpressive (unfinished) enemy AI, I’m no longer intrigued. I’m a bit bored. I made the note “Call of Halofall;” it looks like Halo 5 takes cues from elsewhere, and is unlikely to be a trailblazer like its elders.

Developer 343 says that Halo 5 is “built from the ground up” with co-op in mind, so much so that the campaign literally cannot be played without a squad at your side. Map sizes are apparently four times the size of in Halo 4, with a campaign twice as long as the last game’s. But as I watched one of the development team work his way through an early level in Halo 5’s campaign, I found it hard to get excited about it. Adding in booster jetpacks (Titanfall, COD), iron sights (Titanfall, COD) and up-close stabby stealth kills (every other game ever) is all well and good, but where are Halo 5′s own ideas?

I expected a lot more from my time with Halo 5at Gamescom. Of course, actually playing it would have been better, because watching someone go through a rehearsed demo is lame, but it didn’t look much like a “proper” Halo game. It looked too real. Too militaristic. Less science-fictiony and colourful.

Co-operative play, with a bunch of AI or human teammates, will be fun — especially with levels designed to accommodate different approaches. Multiplayer will be fun, as many of us already know from the beta. Halo 5 will be polished as hell; it’s a flagship title for Microsoft and it wouldn’t allow anything other than a flawless-looking game out there. But Halo used to set the bar. I’m worried that Halo 5 might just be banging its head on it.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour with a U from the British isles.


  • Developer 343 says that Halo 5 is “built from the ground up” with co-op in mind, so much so that the campaign literally cannot be played without a squad at your side.

    Yet you can’t play with your mate by your side, no split-screen and no LAN play, it seems crazy for a game built for co-op. We played all the campaigns of previous Halo games in split screen on the couch, or on two Xboxes with screens side by side, it is true co-op with your friend, partner or these days your kid by your side.

    The article certainly doesn’t convince me that the campaign will be good enough to make me buy it in spite of the lack of local co-op.

    Halo 5 will be polished as hell; it’s a flagship title for Microsoft and it wouldn’t allow anything other than a flawless-looking game out there.

    You tried to play Halo MCC right??

    • I don’t think MCC counted as a ‘flagship title’ as much as, “We’ve just launched a new console and there isn’t a Halo title ready for it yet,” filler.

    • While I get that split screen co-op is some peoples proffered method of co-op, it’s not for everyone. I bought my gf an x1 so she could play with me (on the same couch) and the gang (at her request) and we haven’t and wont look back. Aside from the benefits of game license sharing (1 license, 2 xboxes at the same time) and xbox live sharing (playing the same game online at the same time on seperate xboxes), we don’t have to share a screen and therefore halve the frame rate and/or resolution. With the current gen consoles being as under-powered as they are, I feel that this is the best way (for us, me and the gf).

      Are you sure that the x1 can handle displaying 2 separate perspectives in what will be their highest fidelity game to date? Are you asking those of us that choose not to play split-screen to be ok with MS/343 lowering the fidelity so you can still play split screen?

      Don’t get me wrong, I understand your position. I guess you’ll just have to vote with your wallet.

  • If some people have noticed (I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t, it’s really subtle) I’ve become really cynical over the direction 343i has been taking the franchise since they were created.

    and I don’t like thinking like that, I don’t like being validated over negative opinions. I want 343i to prove me wrong, but all they’ve ever done is disappointed me. Watching the Halo 5 campaign trailer just made me go eh. Watching multiplayer matches made me think I wasn’t watching Halo.

    Even the early released main theme just seemed to me like they were imitating previous soundtracks.

    • >If some people have noticed (I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t, it’s really subtle) I’ve become really cynical over the direction 343i has been taking the franchise since they were created.
      I chortled.

    • I think you and I have both ranted at length over why 343i has failed repeatedly to understand why Halo was such a success. They’re almost completely off brand now.

      I know people talk shit about Destiny over and over but playing it, feeling how right it feels to play, seeing how the setting and concept pulls you in; it’s clear Halo’s success was entirely due to Bungie’s excellence, not the franchise’s brand. Destiny was a hugely risky idea, which is more of what we need, and even though they have stumbled (a lot) on the way, it’s only getting better.

      This risk adverse suit-led industry we have to put up with is killing franchises left right and centre with this follow the leader mentality.

    • When buying a current gen console Halo was the only thing holding me back from switching to a PS4. I compared Destiny and Halo 4 (and what was known about Halo 5) and decided to buy the PS4.

      Despite its flaws, Destiny does feel more like the Halo i loved more than the latest Halo’s. YMMV.

      I wait for Halo 5 to reflect on my decision but I am currently very happy with the switch.

  • Lets be real for a moment, it’s the 5th (main) game in the series and an absolutely flood of FPS games have come and gone inbetween the genuinely revolutionary Halo CE and Halo 5.. not exactly sure what “new” things you expect devs to come up with nowadays?

    As long as it has a good story that fits in the Halo lore and the game isnt a buggy mess, then I’ll be more then happy with it. Total innovation in games is a rare thing now, it’s mostly about doing the rest better then the others.

    • I don’t expect much innovation, but I expect excitement, humour, tense action and suprises. That adrenaline build when the halo music starts to kick in, as the action ramps up. The demo isn’t really scoring high with me on those criteria so far.

      • I agree wholeheartedly. I would hope the campaign would have all those things you mention, wouldn’t feel like a Halo game without them, but with regards to the articles main gripe of lack of innovation, I just don’t see it as a huge deal (provided the story and campaign “moments” live up to the Halo name).

    • That’s my feelings about it as well.

      Halo 1 to 3 always struck me as Master Chief’s story. While 4 to 6 seem to be about John 117

      • You say that like it’s a bad thing. Main character with previously little emotion becoming more and more human, if that’s what you think is bad, you must love the load of human emotion in the matrix movies (hint it’s almost non-existent). I judge a story based on how much it can f with my emotions more the better- if they don’t f with my emotions then I must not have cared about the story

    • I can’t decide if you’re seriously implying that we shouldn’t expect innovations in game design anymore. If so, you need higher standards.

      • To be honest, not for fps. There is nothing new about fps since the mechanics are the same. What makes fps like halo special was the story. Not gonna mention multiplayer since every dos multiplayer is generic as hell right now.

        If Microsoft thinks that they can get away by focusing multiplayer and just dropped the ball on sp campaign, halo is gone for good.

      • Yes and No Lucas. I think Letrico already outlined what my thoughts are exactly regarding this, but…

        In the FPS genre, I honestly don’t exactly that much innovation at all (in gaming in general, yes I do expect it), but for FPS, what more can be done? And to that point, instead of just complaining about the lack of it in this article, why didn’t the writer suggest something? Reason probably being that it’s very much all been done in the FPS genre.

        I can’t even remember the last time I played an FPS game and thought it was something truly innovative and really changed the way I played an FPS.

        If Halo can nail the story (narrative, pacing, feel, etc.) and have tight FPS mechanics, then I’m sold.

        • Did you play Destiny? Let’s have a look at what it brought to the table:

          Grenades as recharging abilities and the gameplay shift that came with that
          RPG leveling in a REAL first person shooter (real compared to the slow pace and VATS of Fallout, for example)
          A super power that recharges over time and also through in game action that dramatically alters the gameplay opportunities
          Different guns that create new tactics through their abilites
          Raids in first person shooters
          Public events in public player spaces
          Cross over character progression that applied to every game mode
          Things like Xur and timed events that encourage collaboration and community involvement
          Countless MMO elements fused with first person action shooter design
          There are so many more things I’m probably forgetting here too

          Say what you will about how successful Destiny was at a lot of the things it tried, but you can’t say with a straight face that it didn’t take a massive chance and attempt to completely change the game and create a brand new genre of game. It was and is something truly innovative in the FPS genre.

          • I love playing Destiny, it’s a great game I just wish it didn’t feel so sparse. The mechanics are brilliant, the controls feel great and it just plays so well. But how many times can I kill the same guys?

            If I was playing Destiny with a group rather than the occasional solo foray I think I would enjoy it a lot more.

          • Yeah you definitely would. I’ll play with you sometime if you have PS4. Especially when The Taken King’s out. my username’s “Geometrics”.

          • Can Destiny really be compared to Halo? One is a quasi FPS-MMO (but don’t tell Bungie that as they deny it’s an MMO) and the other is a more traditional FPS game. I’ll give you that Destiny did bring new things to the table for an FPS game, by adding MMO elements, not really innovating a genre (FPS) but creating/refiniing a new sub-genre (FPS-MMO).

            And for the the innovations in Destiny, they kinda forgot to have much of a story behind it all. I sank many many hundreds of hours into Destiny and had great fun with it with my clan and will probably go back for the taken king too, but I’d still prefer a tight solid game with excellent story over an innovative game with no story.

          • I think you can compare them in many elements, but i’m not talking about comparing them. We’re talking about innovation.

            And I think you can call it a traditional FPS game, and I think you can call it an FPS-MMO as well. The funny thing about evolution is that it takes a weird mutation to change the direction the genepool is heading in. That’s exactly what Destiny is to FPS.

            Some of my favourite games don’t have much of a story. That’s not to say I don’t love a good story but I would argue the amount of games that have a genuinely good story (as opposed to a “good for a videogame” story) is so low I would recommend to most developers to not even try. They just don’t have the expertise. There’s a reason most video game movies suck. It’s because the story has always sucked, except now you don’t have the gameplay to distract you.

  • Halo finished with Reach.
    Beyond that it may look like Halo and be called Halo but it’s not the game we loved.

    • “You’re like a spoiled rich kid, who gets everything bought for you your entire life, and then when it comes to making it on your own, you can’t take it! You expect everyone to love you, because you are who you are, part of the illustrious Halo lineage. Nothing could possibly be wrong with you! You look just like a Halo!”

    • That said, I don’t hold it against 343 that their Halo’s don’t live up. Bungie was wise to.move on when they did, before the series either got stale or had to stray too far from its roots to feel fresh.

  • I enjoyed Halo 1, 2, 3, ODST and Reach. I wouldn’t say I “loved” them, but they were good fun. Probably Reach is my favourite, felt like a complete story in one game with no expectation of a “to be continued” sign at the end of the game.

    I wasn’t fussed when Bungie left and another company took over, I never felt like there was anything “special” about Halo, it was just your stock FPS with alien shit. Remembering how fun the original was, I jumped and grabbed the Halo 1 remaster by this new company, and that was the beginning of the end. It was buggy, it played like shit over system link as though I was really playing over Live anyway. Half the achievements didn’t trigger and often I would find myself unable to shoot behind cover because there was some object in the “classic” view blocking my shot that wasn’t visible in the remastered view.

    Then came Halo 4. By 343i, but I figured I’d try and forget the pain of the remaster and give this a shot and I felt like it was just more of the same. Poor system link performance, stages were buggy and loaded with invisible walls blocking my path. This wasn’t the Halo I remembered, it felt like a cheap third-party mod cashing in. The game itself wasn’t bad, it was the severe lack of polish that I took for granted with Bungie.

    Next strike was Spartan Assault. A twin-stick shooter with Halos, sounds like it could be fun. I grabbed my brothers second xbone controller ready to join in.. when… it happened. No couch co-op. No reason for it whatsoever, you play on a shared screen when playing online, why take it out of the console? Because paying for Live means more money. So disappointed.

    I never bothered with the Master Chief Collection. I assumed it would be as buggy and lacking in polish as all their other garbage – and I was right. What am I expecting of Halo 5? More of the same. After Spartan Assault, I’m not surprised local co-op (in any form) is ditched. They haven’t got it right and they get truckloads of money because people “love” Halo, which is fair enough, but its going on like an abusive relationship. This is exactly why people keep going back to the partner that just broke their ribs and pushed them down the stairs, because they still love them.

  • I really enjoyed Halo 1-3 but found 4 really bad. I hated the new enemies they added. Really boring to fight. I’m still keen to give this a shot but I am not holding my breath that it will be any good.

  • Almost seems like they loved Spartan Ops so much they moved its Co-Op ideals to the main stage.

  • 343 have ruined halo. going back playing them all in order i realized that halo 4 is actually shocking compared to the other halos. Not only that, i have never played a more broken game than the master chief collection. My expectation for this game is extremely low. All those things added, booster jumps, sprinting etc. are bulls#$@ shooter game standards that halo never had, and that was a good thing! halo is not supposed to be played at a lighting pace.

    Will i buy it? yes (unfortunately i cant help myself), its halo. Will it be good? Not a chance in hell

    • I won’t be buying it, I can help myself 🙂
      I agree, Halo is about pacing. The first time I walked out onto that snowfield, and just stood there in awe for a few moments, then had to trudge across the snow, and then saw the epic battle taking place. Halo is actually a slow-ish paced game, with heart pounding action sections, then tense stealth parts, and just awe-inspiring moments. I feel that the additions actually just make it more boring rather than more interesting.

  • I have very low expectations, largely because it feels like 343 are just following the fps protocol instead of putting their own stamp on the genre that Bungie did (and are still attempting to with Destiny, albeit with mixed results). It’s like conforming instead of standing out.

  • 343i have been a bit dissapointing with MCC (which I think Microsoft deserve the blame for anyway), not to mention the short halo 4 campaign with quiet music and don’t even get me started on spartan ops. I’m still looking forward to Halo 5 though, fricken loved the beta. I’m liking the Republic Commando feel with the companions and commands. I’m just hoping the characters are as good as the storm troopers were. Plus the sound of a long campaign like Halo 2 is awesome.

  • …So. I have done my reading. And I played the Beta.. *Places down papers* I am not going to say that your wrong, it’s still in development and for 60 fps. You need to make a few loose ends. They wanted 60 fps for the demons and had to make the walls look odd. I will emit. But those are demos that just show gameplay. When they release the full game out and if the combat is anything like the online only with A.I and three Allies that can handle themselves. (This be the third review I’ve read.) I will judge more when it comes out so should everyone else. Not when you are just staring at it.

    P.S. Game is a lot different from Cod when you try and think about it instead of just looking to what everyone says.

  • I just don’t want them to kill Fred, Linda or Kelly. There are not enough SPARTAN II’s as it is.

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